Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is quite rightly widely recognized as one of the greatest comic books ever written, its universe endlessly (no pun intended) fascinating and expansive. In its early days, Gaiman added numerous links to the larger world of DC Comics it was a part of, including several established heroes and villains. One of the latter of these, Doctor Destiny, has been confirmed for the Netflix series.
The initial season of the show will adapt Preludes and Nocturnes, the first collection of the comics that sees Morpheus first imprisoned for 70 years by a black magician who desired mastery over Death, then focuses on the Dream Lord relocating his scattered tools—a bag of sand, a helm, and a ruby. The latter of these proves the most challenging, despite the second requiring him to literally descend into hell.
Morpheus created the ruby some eons past and imbued it with a large portion of his power, its presence allowing his will to be manifest without conscious effort. As such, it grants its wielder power over people’s thoughts and subconscious. Unfortunately, the gem came into the possession of the maniac John Dee, retconning the jewel to be the energy source of his dream manipulation device.
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In “24 Hours,” the series’ sixth issue, Dee (to be played by David Thewlis, last seen in a comics adaptation as a woefully miscast Ares in Wonder Woman) uses its power to sadistically torture and drive insane the patrons and staff of a diner over the titular time frame. Its events, which will form episode 5 of the TV show, are the apex of the horror stylings the comic initially focused on before being reworked into dark fantasy, and if adapted faithfully you can look forward to at least half a dozen articles on this site about people’s shocked reactions to it.
Although Doctor Destiny’s part in the saga of The Sandman is small, it’s nevertheless a significant one, as it highlights to Morpheus the extent of the hubris by which he has been operating for millennia, and is one of a number of events that spur him to atone for the misdeeds of his past that the story deals with in ever-increasing intensity.